By Rachel Kwon
A cry of anguish. Two masks tossed to the ground. A rippling golden robe. As a revenge-seeker makes her escape, tragedy unfolds in the ancient Greek city of Corinth. Justice High School’s production of “Medea” was a compelling look into the internal conflict of the titular character Medea.
“Medea” is a classical Greek piece of theatre translated into English by David Kovacs. It follows Medea when she and her two children were abandoned by her husband Jason and banished from their home. With her knowledge of medicines and poisons, she concocted a plan to take revenge on Jason by killing everyone he loved — including her two children.
With a small cast of six people, the majority of the actors in “Medea” were double cast as both individual characters and members of the chorus. Even when faced with the challenging task of switching roles and staying on stage throughout the majority of the show, the actors easily navigated the stage. The costume changes were consistently seamless and transitioned naturally between scenes, allowing the audience to become engaged in the story.
Sofie Edwards as Medea was captivating, as her character navigated her emotional turmoil. With a strong grasp on emotion complemented with closed-off body language, Edwards excellently captured the heartbroken and furious Medea. Additionally, Elijah Kassa as Medea’s husband Jason was a great foil to Edwards, with a wide range from an easy-to-hate antagonist to a grief-stricken father. Notably, the chemistry between Edwards and Kassa shone in their introductory argument. During Medea and Jason’s arguments, the pair balanced their characters’ former relationship with the anger at each other in the present.
The chorus of Medea, led by Kaila Bertha, tied the whole production together. From narrating the situation to putting a voice to Medea’s internal conflict, the chorus was an entertaining and vital part of the production. Their use of overlapping dialogue and repetition added a sense of turmoil without being overwhelming.
The minimal technical elements heightened the production by emphasizing the actors’ performances. The blocking (Elizabeth Cheek) was eye-catching in its variances and managed to fill the stage even with a small cast. The just-asymmetrical placement of the chorus added a level of visual intrigue to the show, drawing the audience’s attention and adding to the tension of the scenes. The seamless integration of the main cast and chorus tied together with Medea’s internal conflict, showcasing just how present her doubts were as she prepared to take revenge.
With a small yet powerful cast and thought-provoking performances, Justice High School’s newest production delivered the tragic tale of Medea beautifully, leaving a powerful impression on the audience.
by Rachel Kwon of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology